How does the West lose the war against radical Islamists? One small surrender at a time. The lastest retreat comes from Germany’s Deutsche Oper Berlin, which cancelled a performance of a Mozart opera due to its depiction of the decapitated heads of Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed. Guess which one caused the furor (via The Moderate Voice):
The Deutsche Oper Berlin yesterday said it had decided “with great regret” to cancel a planned production of Mozart’s Idomeneo after city security officials warned of an “incalculable risk” because of scenes dealing with Islam, as well as other religions.
Kirsten Harms, the director of the Deutsche Oper, said that the Berlin state police had warned of a possible – but not certain – threat and that she decided it would be in the best interest of the safety of the opera house, its employees and patrons to cancel the production.
After its premiere in 2003, the production by Hans Neuenfels drew widespread criticism over a scene in which King Idomeneo presents the severed heads not only of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, but also of Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed.
We should note that Mozart didn’t write the scene with the decapitated heads; that is a modern adaptation, although considering the predilection of modern radical Islamists in methods of executing hostages, perhaps not an outrageous one. It should also be noted that the decision to shut down the production did not come from the German government or even the city’s leaders, but from the opera house director. In fact, the German government condemned the decision.
Nevertheless, the decision highlights the lack of fortitude and excessive sensitivity shown to Muslims, and by artists who would normally scream at any attempt by Western churches to even criticize their staging. No one suggested that showing a severed head of Jesus should get banned by the Deutsche Oper Berlin, or Buddha, or Poseidon, although one doubts many Greeks would care about the latter. Had the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury demanded that Harms shut the doors rather than show Jesus beheaded, all of Europe would have arisen in righteous indignation — and rightfully so.
So why shut the doors when Mohammed gets the Zarqawi treatment? Because Muslims kill people for this kind of speech. That’s the only reason why — and Harms’ actions only embolden them to intimidate other artists into submission.
What does this portend for European artists? Theo Van Gogh could probably explain it to you, except that a Muslim assassinated him for filming a powerful criticism of radical Islam and its treatment of women. Ayaan Hirsi Ali could also inform you, but death threats from radical Islamists have kept the screenwriter of Van Gogh’s film in hiding. Salman Rushdie has explained it many times over, but one can find him only because the Muslim death squads appear to have lost interest in collecting on Ayatollah Khomeini’s hit contract on the Muslim author and critic.
This is the slow slide into dhimmitude. Radical Islamists demand that we treat Islam and Mohammed as sacred and above criticism as part of our agreement to live under their forbearance. We comply, and we endorse their supremacy through violence and intimidation. It isn’t about sensitivity; it’s about standing up for freedom and liberty and the right to speak our minds on any topic. My cultural sensitivity ends at the point where I have to refrain from honest criticism because of a threat on my life. That kind of impulse is exactly the kind that most needs criticism, but fewer of us appear capable of resisting.
Welcome to the ummah, and I hope you brought your jizya.